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I put myself in a vulnerable position and then was surprised when I was assaulted.(34 Posts)
I've been up all night with this going around and around in my head. I just need to get it out and be heard. Thank you to anyone who might read this and just...sorry.
I was born into a nice middle class family; private schooling, 4 bedroom house, pretty garden, yearly foreign holidays and all that superficial jazz. I was sexually abused for many years until the abuser moved away and no longer had physical access to me. I began to suffer from anxiety and nightmares, so my parents found me therapy but I never disclosed and I still haven't.
As a young teen, I developed severe anorexia nervosa, spent so much time in and out of hospital; overdoses, self harm and being force fed to save my life. I didn't go to school and became very socially isolated and lonely. My family and remaining few friends showered me with love but I felt unlovable. I was 19 when I decided that finding a boyfriend would make me feel special and heal all my hurt.
I scoured the web for dates and went on a few disastrous ones. I say that because dates often surround food and alcohol and I was still in the grips of anorexia. Eventually, I found a nice guy of my age, well I thought he was nice. I made a huge catalogue of errors that led me to get sexually assaulted. I got in the car with him on our first meeting. I went to his home. I didn't comment when he locked the door. I hung out in his bedroom. I lay on his bed. I let him kiss me. I thought he wanted to watch a film and cuddle. That had sounded perfect to me, just what I was after. How silly that sounds! I was stupid and didn't look after my safety at all. I was 19, old enough to know better.
The overwhelming feeling I had for the next few weeks was sheer surprise. I had not expected it. Looking back, I am angry with myself for feeling surprised. Really, what did I expect to happen?!
I am so ragey with myself today. I have called in sick to work which I never do. I am filled with self loathing and anger. I want to be a little girl again and I want my mummy to hold me and protect me from the evils that she never knew about it. I want to start all over again and do my life differently.
The first thing I would say is that at 19 you were not old enough to know better. I got into all sorts of stupid situations at 19, because of naivety and because I didn't know how to say "no" without offending anyone.
Don't be angry with yourself. You haven't done anything wrong. That feeling of wanting to start again and do life differently - I think many people have that, for many different reasons. We can't start again, obviously, and these things do not make us less valuable as people. In the end you absorb the bad bits and grow round them, and hopefully grow stronger. I do think you need some help though - some good counselling or therapy.
Thank you for your words. I have a fantastic therapist who I've been with on and off for about 5 years. I keep leaving and returning. I'm currently not having therapy. Every time I hit the painful stuff, I cease the sessions. She is very, very patient with me and has an open door policy, never rejects me. We have tried working together to get me through but I keep running for the hills. I started working through the childhood stuff when I was admitted for a 12 week inpatient psychiatric programme but it wasn't enough time and I wasn't quite ready anyway, kept harming myself.
I was going to ask how long ago the assault happened, but I realise it doesn't really matter - it's still as raw for you as if it happened last week, as are your childhood experiences.
Does your therapist know that you know that there is something in your past so painful that you run from confronting it? Is 'getting ready to confront it' something that you have looked at with her? I do hope you find a way through this to a more peaceful life - you deserve it, there is sunshine waiting for you behind the clouds!
I know how difficult it is to voice these things - even to a trusted therapist. None of this was your fault. Unfortunately you weren't protected when you should have been and are maybe not sure how best to protect yourself now.
Putting yourself in a vulnerable position did not cause you to be assaulted. What happened was not your fault. You are not responsible for what he did to you. Many, many of us have put ourselves in similar situations and not been assaulted. You were assaulted because the man in the room with you was an abuser/attacker/whatever you want to call him.
The 'I put myself in a vulnerable position' line is simply internalised victim-blaming and misogyny.
All women are vulnerable to sexual assault, simply because they are weaker than men and have breasts and vaginas. Every woman puts herself in a vulnerable position every time she goes on a date.
In actual fact, you trusted this guy, you thought he was nice, you went on what you thought was a date, and ended up being sexually assaulted. You were 19 years old, which is very young, you trusted him and he turned out to be an arsehole.
That happens to 1000s of women much older than you were. Don't beat yourself up.
This was not your fault. I have done similar on dates and not been assaulted because the men in question were not predators, unfortunately this man was.
THIS WAS NOT YOUR FAULT Remember this! You are not to blame. Your therapist sounds ace and I would continue to see her if you can. It may be painful to talk about the bad stuff, but sharing the burden can lighten the load.
Take care of yourself OP
What really jumps out from your OP is the fact that you have not disclosed the sexual abuse to your parents. It's not clear whether you have disclosed it to therapists.
You might rethink protecting your parents from what happened. Your mother cannot protect you from evils you didn't know about but she could give you support while you deal with the consequences if she is sympathetic.
A friend of mine experienced similar abuse, and also developed anorexia. She battled the illness all the way through her 20s and it wasn't until she was 30 that she finally came clean about the abuse to her family. If it came out in the end, it might as well have come out at the start. That was the point she really state to heal.
I'm not sure if the self-loathing and anger you describe in your last paragraph is solely focused on the 19 year old, is it not also a reaction to the prior abuse? Who would not feel angry to have such horrible experiences when they were so young? What you describe is entirely natural. Sadly self-hatred is a very common reaction to abuse.
I have not been where you have been so please forgive me if my words are disproportionate.
I wonder if the key to your recovery is telling your wonderful patens what happened to you when you were a youngster? I say that because by keeping it to yourself, you have internalised all that has happened to you and now might be a good time to let it all out.
You did not deserve this abuse and even though I don't know you I would like that fact that it happened to you, to stop defining your life for a minute longer than it already has.
Do not let this monster define you. That's what he was and is and his actions have been defining you for far too long.
You only need take baby steps, but imagine showing your mother this thread, would that be a release?
Life is a journey and who you are at the moment and what you have gone through does not mean the future won't be rosy. But that means you making some changes too, changing your perception of the world and things that have happened to you. Don't look back only look forward. The future can be full if wonderful positive things.
Please please share this burden with your family. Now is the time to set yourself free. Keep posting for support.
If he had been a decent man, he wouldn't have assaulted you.
He wanted to assault you, so he could easily have gained your trust over time and then assault you.
It's all on him, not you.
WHat happened was all his fault and not remotely yours. He assaulted you because he is a rapist. If he had been a nice man and you had behaved exactgly the same way he would not have harmed you. But he wasn't a nice man.
You expected to have a cuddle and watch a film, so it's no bloody wonder you were surprised when he assaulted you. This is not your fault, not even close.
By your logic, every time I leave the house I'm making myself vulnerable to being run over by a bus, does that mean I'm wrong to leave the house and I deserve to get run over by a bus? No.
Keep seeing your therapist, tell your parents if you can. Most importantly, be kinder to yourself. The only person to blame for sexual assault is the perpetrator. You're victim-blaming yourself.
What happened to you as a child and now as a young adult are/were criminal offences. Not your fault. Now whilst therapy is often required to help victims of criminal offences, it isn't a substitute for justice. No-one comes home to find their house has been burgled and calls a therapist.
Your suffering is dreadful and of course you are not to blame but, at the same time, I think the distress of keeping all of this secret is too much. 'Mummy' (in the shape of agencies and authorities that are in a position to help you) can only act if you give them information.
'The truth will set you free'
Unfortunately you came up against an abuser, rather than a decent man.
I did too but my judgement was way out because this was somebody I was in a relationship with and loved and trusted.
I'm very cautious now but reducing risks doesn't stop things from happening and I know that only too well. Makes it hard to trust in yourself and your instincts though
Unfortunately these things have a way of affecting your life. I hope you find some peace, that's what I'm hoping for too
<<I found a nice guy of my age, well I thought he was nice. I made a huge catalogue of errors that led me to get sexually assaulted. I got in the car with him on our first meeting. I went to his home. I didn't comment when he locked the door. I hung out in his bedroom. I lay on his bed. I let him kiss me. I thought he wanted to watch a film and cuddle. That had sounded perfect to me, just what I was after.>>
^^ I did all those things at 19 too OP -it was my first time away from home and I was very shy with the opposite sex and had never had a boyfriend. The guy locked the door to stop his housemates barging in.
The difference is nothing bad happened to me, because the man I was with was a good man. He tried to talk me into sex but settled for cuddling/kissing because that's all I wanted. Then he drove me home.
You got assaulted because the man you were with was an abuser. That's not your fault, they look the same as decent men, and you had no way of knowing.
I am so sorry this happened to you but you are in no way naive or to blame.
AF - that thread has to come with a serious health warning, unfortunately. The OP is spot on, but the first few pages then get piled on by some of the worst victim blaming I've ever seen on mumsnet. There have been some posts later which redress the balance, but it was pretty horrible to start with. I mention this, because when you're in a very vulnerable frame of mind and blaming yourself, it's easy to latch onto the posts that reinforce that negative view of yourself and filter out the good ones.
Obviously - I ended up in nearly the same situation as you at the age of 19. Walking home from a party late one night at the time when there was a known stranger rapist at large in the town where I lived (friend had walked me as far as the city centre - from then on it should have been relatively safe walk down well lit main streets). A man took advantage of some young lads kicking off about something in the distance to accost me, say "that looks a bit dangerous, do you want me to walk you round the back streets?" then took advantage of my trusting nature and (what I now realise) used fairly sophisticated social engineering ("it's pub closing time, there's going to be a lot of that, we're just passing mine, how about a cup of tea until things have calmed down a bit outside") to get me alone in his room, where he then went to great lengths to scare the shit out of me by banging on about how his room was in the admin block of his college and there was nowhere within earshot.
The only difference between our situations was dumb luck - I'd happened on what I think is what another poster on here refers to as a "good guy rapist" - the sort who will rape a woman who's frozen with terror, but won't hit or restrain a woman who's struggling. And this really is a matter of luck. So I got out of the situation. But had my would-be rapist (and I heard later down the grapevine that there were a string of women who'd had "bad experiences" - aka 80s-speak for rape) used force to restrain me, I'd have been stuffed. And I wouldn't have been able to go to the police, because in the 80s there's no way that would have been prosecuted. (A friend, who was as "good" a victim as you could hope for - sensibly dressed, cycling home from lectures at 5.30, a virgin prior to the incident - even then the police didn't take her seriously. I know because I was the one holding her hand while she tried to tell them what had happened and they came out with a load of victim blaming shite).
It was not your fault. It was entirely his fault. Remember that rapists don't come with obvious "I'm a monster" neon signs floating above their heads. Unfortunately, most of them look like regular guys - sometimes even like guys you'd happily have had consensual sex with if they'd gone about dating you in the normal way. Some of them even do go about dating the normal way, and only reveal themselves as rapists some way into the relationship. Without a crystal ball, none of us - not you, not me, not all the stupid victim-blamers who pop up to pile on the guilt - can tell which of a range of perfectly normal social behaviours are going to bring us into contact with a rapist. And the rape is wholly the responsibility of the rapist.
I have even, in my younger days, gone to bed with men having first said "I'm up for a bit of a snog but nothing more" and had those boundaries respected - because that's what decent men do. Rape happens when rapists decide to use a situation - any situation - to their advantage. Decent men do not rape in any situation - even highly sexualised situations.
Fair enough, Lurcio. OP is already blaming herself though and the posts refuting that are what she needs to see.
nothing you did excused his behaviour. He is totally at fault for assaulting you.
I found this book really helpful:
It gave me something to focus on between appointments. You build up to writing one or more Rescue scenarios where your adult self goes back and does what was needed to rescue you at the time.
It was really powerful for me because it made me the one who did the right thing. I am a good person who would have saved myself if I'd known how. You write yourself the hero so you have the antidote to the negative messages. You can keep it to yourself or share it with someone you trust. You are totally in control in that space.
I hope you manage to move forward.
None of this is your fault OP.
I don't think you will be able to move on until you disclose the abuse in your childhood. You want to start your life again this could be your chance of moving on.
It wasn't your fault at all.
I don't have anything else helpful to say really, but I just want you to hear that from as many people as possible.
I spent years in therapy and have finally accepted that putting myself in a position in which abuse could take place doesn't mean I brought it on myself. And also just because I didn't tell anyone it doesn't mean I deserved it.
The same goes for you. You are not to blame. You could have done exactly the same with a different man and you would not have been assaulted. It is all on him, not you.
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